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Introducing Ethics

A Critical Thinking Approach with Readings

Justin McBrayer and Peter Markie

Publication Date - December 2013

ISBN: 9780199793785

752 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $124.99

Prepares students to think critically about ethics--to analyze and evaluate the arguments presented in readings on ethical theory and moral issues


Introducing Ethics: A Critical Thinking Approach with Readings combines guiding commentary and questions with a rich selection of concise, carefully edited, and accessible readings on ethical theory and contemporary moral issues. This unique introduction shows students how to do philosophy by first analyzing texts--identifying ethical positions and the arguments that support them--and then evaluating the truth of those positions and the soundness of the arguments. In doing so, it provides students with a uniquely engaging introduction to ethics that also hones their critical thinking skills.


* A unique Unit 1 gives students the conceptual tools to "do" philosophy with coverage of logic, arguments, moral reasoning, and reading and writing philosophy

* Extensive coverage of the three main areas of ethics--metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics--addresses issues often ignored by other texts, including ethics vs. science, moral responsibility, moral vs. legal issues, torture, terrorism, and more

* Unit and chapter introductions outline major themes and issues and explain why they matter

* Reading questions precede the essays and focus students' studying on key points, while discussion questions follow the readings and help students move into the evaluation phase

* "Argument Reconstruction Exercises" after each reading provide practice in identifying the premises and conclusions in the essays

* An Instructor's Manual with Test Bank on CD is available to adopters

* A Companion Website at www.oup.com/us/mcbrayer provides all the material contained on the CD along with student resources

About the Author(s)

Justin P. McBrayer is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fort Lewis College, Colorado. He is the coeditor of Skeptical Theism: New Essays (OUP, 2014), and The Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil (2013).

Peter J. Markie is Curators' Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the University of Missouri. He is the coeditor of Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues (OUP, 2011).


"The editors have put all the tools of a successful philosopher in one place; they provide a logically progressive introduction that illuminates why philosophers analyze the way that we do. Unit 1 truly offers a roadmap to philosophical methodology that I can build upon in the classroom."--Daniel Deen, Florida State University

"The great strength of this text is that it devotes significant attention to all three aspects of ethics--metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics--and provides an excellent introduction to all three."--Jerry Wallulis, University of South Carolina-Columbia

Table of Contents

    Each reading selection is followed by Reading Questions, Discussion Questions, and Argument Reconstruction Exercises.
    Chapter 1. Introductions
    Chapter 2. The Method of Philosophy
    2.1 Arguments and Logic
    2.2 Deductive Arguments
    2.3 Inductive Arguments
    2.4 Fallacious Arguments
    2.5 Conditions and Analysis
    2.6 Moral Reasoning
    Chapter 3. True for You, But Not For Me
    3.1 Moral Interpretation
    3.2 Doxastic Interpretation
    3.3 Epistemic Interpretation
    3.4 Semantic Interpretation
    3.5 Metaphysical Interpretation
    Chapter 4. Reading Philosophy
    4.1 Determining the Thesis
    4.2 Reconstructing an Argument
    4.3 How to Use This Text
    Chapter 5. Writing Philosophy
    5.1 Goal
    5.2 Evaluation
    5.3 Content
    5.4 Structure
    Chapter 6. Moral Facts
    6.1 "Moral Nihilism," Gilbert Harmon
    6.2 "Values in a Scientific World," Russ Shafer-Landau
    6.3 "Four Arguments against Moral Knowledge," Russ Shafer-Landau
    Chapter 7. Morality and Authority
    7.1 "Does Morality Depend upon Religion?" John Arthur
    7.2 "Humanistic Ethics," Kai Nielsen
    7.3 "Master and Slave Moralities," Friedrich Nietzsche
    7.4 "Moral Relativism," Gilbert Harman
    7.5 "Ethical Relativism and Ethical Absolutism," Paul Taylor
    Chapter 8. Moral Responsibility
    8.1 "The Impossibility of Moral Responsibility," Galen Strawson
    8.2 "Freedom and Necessity," A. J. Ayer
    8.3 "Human Freedom and the Self," Roderick Chisholm
    8.4 "Existentialism Is a Humanism," Jean-Paul Sartre
    Chapter 9. Why Be Moral?
    9.1 "The Virtue of Selfishness," Ayn Rand
    9.2 "Ethical Egoism," James Rachels
    9.3 "Right and Wrong," Thomas Nagel
    9.4 "A Reconciliation Project," Gregory Kavka
    Chapter 10. Value and The Good Life
    10.1 "The Meaning of Life," Richard Taylor
    10.2 "The Experience Machine," Robert Nozick
    10.3 "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best," Derek Parfit
    Chapter 11. Consequentialism
    11.1 "Utilitarianism," John Stuart Mill
    11.2 "Against Moral Conservatism," Kai Nielsen
    11.3 "Some Merits of One Form of Rule-Utilitarianism," Richard B. Brandt
    11.4 "Turning the Trolley," Judith Jarvis Thomson
    Chapter 12. Nonconsequentialism
    12.1 "Natural Law," St. Thomas Aquinas
    12.2 "Natural Law Ethics," Alfonso Gomez-Lobo
    12.3 "The Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals," Immanuel Kant
    12.4 "What Makes Right Acts Right," W.D. Ross
    12.5 "Hypothetical Contractarianism," John Rawls
    12.6 "Non-Contractual Society: A Feminist View," Virginia Held
    Chapter 13. Virtue and Care Ethics
    13.1 "Virtue," Aristotle, translated by W.D. Ross
    13.2 "Aristotle on Virtue," Rosalind Hursthouse
    13.3 "Moral Saints," Susan Wolf
    13.4 "Care and Context in Moral Reasoning," IMarilyn Friedman
    13.5 "The Ethics of Care as Moral Theory," Virginia Held
    Chapter 14. The Moral Community
    14.1 "All Animals are Equal," Peter Singer
    14.2 "The Ethics of Respect for Nature," Paul Taylor
    14.3 "Are All Species Equal?," David Schmidtz
    Chapter 15. Abortion
    15.1 "An Argument That Abortion Is Wrong," Don Marquis
    15.2 "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion," Mary Ann Warren
    15.3 "A Defense of Abortion," Judith Jarvis Thomson
    15.4 "Caring for Women and Girls Who Are Considering Abortion," Diana Fritz Cates
    Chapter 16. The Environment and Sustainability
    16.1 "Sustainability and Intergenerational Justice," Brian Barry
    16.2 "Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments," Thomas E. Hill, Jr.
    16.3 "Do We Consume Too Much?" Mark Sagoff
    16.4 "Redefining the Good Life in a Sustainable Society," Lester W. Milbrath
    Chapter 17. Famine Relief
    17.1 "Famine, Affluence and Morality," Peter Singer
    17.2 "Famine Relief and the Ideal Moral Code," John Arthur
    17.3 "Feeding the Hungry," Jan Narveson
    Chapter 18. Terrorism
    18.1 "Terrorism: A Critique of Excuses," Michael Walzer
    18.2 "Is Terrorism Distinctively Wrong?" Lionel K. McPherson
    18.3 "The War on Terrorism and the End of Human Rights," David Luban
    Chapter 19. Torture
    19.1 "Is Torture Ever Morally Justifiable?" Seumas Miller
    19.2 "Ticking Bombs, Torture, and the Analogy with Self-Defense," Daniel J. Hill
    Chapter 20. Euthanasia
    20.1 "Active and Passive Euthanasia," James Rachels
    20.2 "Active and Passive Euthanasia: An Impertinent Distinction?" Thomas D. Sullivan
    20.3 "Self-Regarding Suicide: A Modified Kantian View," Thomas E. Hill, Jr.
    20.4 "Buddhist Views of Suicide and Euthanasia," Carl B. Becker
    Chapter 21. Capital Punishment
    21.1 "Justifying Capital Punishment," Igor Primoratz
    21.2 "The Case Against the Death Penalty," Hugo Bedau
    Chapter 22. Morality and the Law
    22.1 "The Harm Principle," J.S. Mill
    22.2 "Morals and the Criminal Law," Patrick Devlin
    22.3 "France and the Ban on the Full-Face Veil: A Philosophical Analysis of the Arguments," Sarah Roberts-Cady
    22.4 "Pornography, Oppression and Freedom: A Closer Look," Helen E. Longino
    22.5 "The Feminist Case Against Pornography," Joel Feinberg
    Argument Reconstruction Exercise Solutions
    Reading Credits